Social media effects on well-being: the hypothesis of addiction of a new variety (Kyklos 2024)

Recent evidence shows that social media use has negative effects on well-being of children and youths. However, the underlying reasons are unclear, as social media are means that can also serve beneficial purposes. We propose the hypothesis that social media induce users to harmful addiction of a new variety because such use is not toxic per se, but becomes toxic by crowding out beneficial activities. We identify, in particular, the key mechanism in the change of time preference: while social media induce users to present-biased activities, thus encouraged by how platforms are designed, they crowd out activities that develop skills and are forward-looking, such as education, volunteering and democratic participation. This triggers a vicious circle leading to a long run deterioration of well-being and skills that would have acted as an antidote to addiction. As implication, policies should address adequate information and education in general, as well as increased competition in the digital platform market. While the available evidence supports our hypothesis in many respects, more empirical research is needed.

Kyklos online full article

Creativity, well-being and economic development (Journal of Evolutionary Economics 2024)

Economic development requires endogenous novelties, according to evolutionary economics. To find the endogenous source of novelties, we focus on the creativity of ordinary people when they craft their life path. We argue that such ‘life creativity’ is endogenous to the economic system because it is a typical capability of human beings, because it is intrinsically motivated, thus directly yielding well-being, and because it can be developed with better economic conditions. The paper first introduces the insights of three pioneers of evolutionary economics, it proceeds by showing the key role of creativity in human evolution, and then it proposes ‘creative activity’ as an input-output technology that is both useful for and conditioned by economic development. It concludes by contrasting the Industrial Revolution in Britain with the ICT revolution in the US for their different effects of successful innovations on life creativity and well-being.

You can read the article here

Well-being and Growth in Advanced Economies: The Need to Prioritise Human Development (by Maurizio Pugno, Routledge, IN PAPERBACK ED. in JAN. 2024 for £15.19)

Does growth of advanced economies lead to human development, i.e., the development of those capabilities that most distinguish human beings? Are improvements of well-being thus guaranteed?

The half-century decline of well-being (both subjective and objective) in the United States suggests a pessimistic stance, aggravated by the recent pandemic and war.

Well-being and Growth in Advanced Economies argues with theory and facts that economic growth can surprisingly bring ill-being to people because it erodes their Fundamental Human Development (FHD) when market forces are prioritised, with consequent self-defeating race to consumption, including some addiction to digital devices.

‘Human development’ is here formulated as ‘fundamental’ when it expands those capabilities, such as creativity and sociality, which have determined the evolutionary success of the human species.

The book concludes that prioritising FHD in individual and collective choices would guarantee improvements of well-being, and could shape economic growth as more socially and environmentally sustainable.

Table of Contents

Introduction and Summary


Chapter 1. Economic growth and people’s well-being in advanced countries

Chapter 2. Human development and well-being

Chapter 3. Why growth in market economies can deteriorate human development and well-being

Chapter 4. Economic growth and human development: which priority in the post-pandemic era?



ISBN 9781032149059

July, 2022 Published by Routledge

124 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations


For excerpts and commercial information, see the website of the publisher

For a review see: Journal of Economic Psychology, Vol 95, March 2023

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